Why I stayed…

1991…

The first three months were like a dream… we saw each other almost every day…. he called me every night to wish me sweet dreams…. he brought me flowers… took me on wonderful and exciting adventures… he was perfect…

Then one day in 1991 it all came crashing down… Garth Brooks released Ropin’ the Wind and I had to work late to put the display together for sale in the morning…. I called him, my angel on earth, he didn’t answer so I left him a message telling him I wouldn’t be home until late… I told him I loved him…. I told him I’d call him as soon as I got home….

11pm I pulled into my driveway and stood in front of a very angry man… fuming… He took my keys, opened the door to the house and pulled me inside with so much fury I almost fell to my knees… The next hour was a blur as this 6’6” stranger stood over me, yelling in a whisper, a very loud and terrifying whisper… Telling me he owned me, that I wasn’t allowed to stray from the order of things without his ok… when I finally was allowed to speak, through my sobbing tears, I explained I had called him, he wasn’t home and I left a message… Apparently, him not being home, not getting my message, well…. it was my fault…. And yet I stayed…

The next day flowers arrived at my work, with a note… “I still love you”… I interpreted it as “I am sorry for last night, I love you” and things went back to normal… So I stayed…

As the weeks went on my mistakes seemed to increase… As did his temper… the whispers turned to yelling… the yelling turned to humiliation…. and then came the first slap… it came out of nowhere… and it concluded with… “Next time, you will think twice”… and I did, I thought twice, three times… a hundred times… I thought, “What am I doing to anger him so much?” I paid such close attention to each situation… I stopped talking unless he asked questions… I stopped going out… I stopped my life and only focused on what would please him… and yet the slapping turned to hitting… the hitting turned to punching… the punching…. it turned to burning…. And yet I stayed…

When I left him, it wasn’t my choice… he had beaten me so badly I couldn’t stop throwing up, my eye was swollen shut and my nose was broken… my friends made me leave… They took away my right to choose because… I wanted to stay…

I write this, not for sympathy, but for those who keep asking women, like Janay Palmer, Ray Rice’s wife, why the hell would you stay with someone like that? While I can’t speak for anyone but me… I’m guessing it’s a similar story… A friend of mine stated he thought she was staying because of his money…. I know his intention wasn’t to hit me where it hurts, but that’s exactly what his comment did…

Perhaps for some, it’s what they get out of it… But for most, it’s what we put into it… I stayed because of a number of reasons:

1. Because I thought he loved me…
2. Because I thought I loved him…
3. Because that’s what I thought love was…
4. Because I never once, not even for a fraction of a second, thought he was in the wrong…
5. Because I was convinced, I deserved it…
6. Because I was convinced I kept making mistakes and he was teaching how not to…
7. Because I believed, if I can change, if I can finally get it right, he’ll stop…
8. Because I believed his apologies…
9. Because I didn’t think I could do any better… or didn’t know there was better out there…
10. Because I hated myself…
11. Because I hated myself…
12. Because I hated myself…
13. Because I hated myself…
14. Because I hated myself…
15. Because I hated myself…
16. Because I hated myself…
17. Because I hated myself…
18. Because I hated myself…
19. Because I didn’t know how to love myself…
20. So…. I stayed….

There are a myriad of reasons why we stay… a million reasons why we don’t leave… and sadly while we are in the thick of it we can’t see clearly, we can’t see we deserve better, we keep on hating ourselves, allowing the torture, the torment, the violence, the humiliation… we allow it to continue…

I’m left with scars on my thighs from cigar burns, scars on my vagina from cigarette burns, a scar on my chin from a punch with his ring on and because he broke my nose I snore so loudly I wake myself up every night… for close to 20 years I didn’t take my clothes off in front of a man with the lights on, I never left the house without covering the scar on my chin with makeup (honestly, I still don’t), I couldn’t look at myself without feeling the shame…

It wasn’t until I turned 40 did I make the conscious decision to right all the wrongs I’ve gone through…. to speak up and speak loud, to fight for my sisters who are staying… whatever their reasons are… to heal myself, to love myself, to forgive myself… an unending process, but one I won’t give up on…. It took me 20 years to get to this point and I plan on growing, evolving, changing every day, I’m not staying anymore….

Warrior Women

As I walk through this world, a seemingly, beaten and worn down woman… A woman who has suffered at the hands of cowardly men who abused her for their own sick sense of power and then turn around and blame her for their actions; men who took from her what should have been hers to give; men who left scars so deep that they will never truly heal… physical scars she sees each and every day that force her to revisit the emotional and spiritual scars from so many years ago…

I oft times wonder “how am I still standing? How do I go on each day with a smile on my face and some semblance of peace in my heart?” These are just a few of the questions that are thrown at me whenever I tell my story…

My only answer is, I do it because of the women who came before me, the brave warriors who fought so courageously, who laid a path for me to fight and conquer my demons, so that I can, somehow, put one foot in front of the other and blaze my own trail of freedom, of strength, of power, of femininity, of kindness, of compassion, of love…

These cowardly men may have taken from me what was only mine to give, but they have not won, for each day I wake up with new sense of determination and focus, to not allow them to break me down… to not allow them to destroy me… but to fill myself up with pride, confidence, beauty, and love…

To those women who went before me, I humbly and sincerely thank you… to those women who walk with me, may our heads always be held high, may we hold each other up when we feel like falling down… to those women who will see the trail left by me and my sisters, may it guide you to a place of strength, power, self-respect, dignity, equality, faith, hope, kindness, compassion and love… and may your trail be one much less volatile than those that walked before you…

Peace 

International Women’s Day, #IWD2014

While I appreciate the sentiments of “Happy International Women’s Day” and all the wonderful men thanking the strong and powerful women in their lives… to me, that is not what International Women’s Day is all about, it’s not Mother’s Day, it’s not Valentine’s Day, it’s not Thanksgiving… 

International Women’s Day is not simply a celebration of women worldwide, it’s a day, yes, just one day out of 365, to recognise our struggles, to bring awareness to how much work we have to accomplish to reach our goal of equality… This year’s theme by the United Nations is “Inspiring Change”… Below are just a few of the changes that are needed for women and girls around the world… 

 

  • It’s about providing free and safe education for all females…
    • There are 600 million girls living in the developing world. Two-thirds of the world’s uneducated children are girls, and two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women.**

 Education

  • It’s about providing Equal Rights for Marginalized Women Workers….
    • Many working women continue to face sex discrimination and other unfair treatment on the job, including sexual harassment and assault, wage theft, unequal pay, and other injustices. Women in male-dominated industries and those who are marginalized by race, poverty, immigration status, and/or sexual orientation often confront multiple barriers to equal opportunity and fair treatment at work. ***

 equal rights

  • It’s about a woman’s right to make decisions concerning her own body….
    • Pro-choice, the right for a woman to make her own decisions regarding abortions
    • Ending arranged, forced, under-aged marriages; The right to marry who we want, if we want

 my-body-my-choice

  • It’s about ending violence against women…
    • According to a study done by the World Health Organisation, 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence. However, some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime from an intimate partner*

 ending violence

  • It’s about all females living shame free…
    • Stop victim blaming
    • End rape culture
    • Stop shaming the victims and protecting the attackers
    • Allowing our girls to grow up feeling good about their body image, respecting themselves and being the strong, powerful, beautiful, funny, creative, talented, successful people they were born to be.

 Things that cause rape

So, this is what International Women’s Day means to me, it’s not only honouring the amazing women in our lives, which we should do every day anyway, but it’s about standing up, both females and males, and taking action, finding solutions. It’s about a world I can show my niece with pride, a world where she and all our sisters are safe, and honoured, and educated and healthy and proud….

 

“So, until all my sisters are free, really, none of us are free…”

 “Equality for women is progress for all” ~ From the United Nations page for IWD

 Here’s hoping to one day not have a need for International Women’s Day…

 international-womens-day--001

 

 * http://www.unwomen.org/

** http://www.educatinggirlsmatters.org/

*** http://www.equalrights.org/

 

“They’re Real and They’re Spectacular” Until you go shopping for a dress!

Today I went shopping for a new dress to wear to the awards gala in Atlantic City this weekend… It’s the first time in a couple of years I’ve gone shopping for something fancy schmancy…

 I left my home with the highest of expectations… I mean, in the past 8 or 9 months  I’ve lost well over 45 pounds and am like 8 dress sizes smaller than I was, so I figured I could hit H&M or Suzy Shier, find one of the sexy dresses I see in their ads and actually fit into them! I mean, my intended budget was $45.00, and as my plus sized gal pals can attest to, that’s insanely unrealistic in plus sized stores…

So I went to Dufferin Mall… walked right passed Cinnabon, (a victory all on is own) and into H&M I go… I found a few dresses I liked I held up their ‘large’ size, and quite frankly it wouldn’t even cover one of my nipples! So, a tad disappointed, but not yet defeated, I went into Suzy Shier, and they were having a sale, ALL DRESSES $30.00!!!!!!!!!! I was even more determined to buy one there as it was under budget! I picked up 5 dresses, went into the change room, and again, my chest, my DDD chest, beat me down into a puddle of shame, a quivering mass of depression, and an informal decision to walk straight to Cinnabon and feed my depression as I’ve done my entire life…

I thanked the lady who helped me, and left… close to tears, wondering how, after all my hard work I still don’t #$^#*$ fit into a ‘regular’ sized dress… then it dawned on me, slowly, (thankfully before I got back to Cinnabon) that while the dresses didn’t fit over my chest, they DID fit everywhere else… HOLY CRAP! They fit my ribs, my waist, my hips, my ass!!!!

So this realisation is a big deal for me, all my hard work IS paying off! But what to do? I still need to shop in a plus sized store to appease my giant breasts… So I went to a plus sized store, Addition Elle… I tried on 4 dresses, all of which fit over the girls, and I fell in love with one of them… I felt like twirling around and dancing like a Disney Princess in this fantastically beautiful dress… and I felt beautiful… So what if I, because of my ‘girls’, have to keep shopping in plus sized stores, (other than the fact the prices are at least double, another topic for another blog entry), I felt gorgeous, sexy, and happy, with me, my body and my boobs… My boobs are part of who I am, who I’ve been for over 30 years, (read “My nickname in grade 4 was ‘Tit Wiggle’” for insight into that tale), I love them, they, in some way, define me, who I’ve become and who I want to be…

So life is good, I have an awesome dress, I went $60.00 over budget, and I am quite ok with that! I just won’t eat during the month of May!

p.s. I’ll update this entry with a photo once I wear the dress this weekend.

I AM RISING…

OBR-logo-english

On Thursday February 14th, 2013 I AM RISING… Even if I am Rising alone in my living room dancing my heart out, I am Rising…

 

I am Rising for the 3 year old me who was sexually abused by a “close friend of the family” for 6 years…

 

I am Rising for the 12 year old me who was repeatedly raped by a stranger for hours and hours…

 

I am Rising for the 22 year old me who was in an abusive relationship for one and half years…

 

I am Rising for EVERY woman and child who are victims of domestic violence…

 

I am Rising for EVERY woman and child who are victims of sexual abuse…

 

I am Rising for EVERY woman and child who are victims rape…

 

I am Rising for EVERY woman and child who are victims of oppression…

 

I am Rising in honour of the good, decent men in the world who demand an end to violence against women…

 

I am Rising in hope of a better future for my sisters…

I am Rising in fury over what happens to women and children every second of every day…

I am Rising in the hopes that I can get through one night without checking 10 times if my door is locked…

I am Rising so that women will feel safe walking down the street at night…

 

I am Rising for Freedom…

 

I am Rising for Justice…

 

I am Rising for Peace…

 

I am Rising for you…

 

I am Rising for me…

 

I am Rising…

 

I am Rising in love…

♥ ॐ ♥

KCL LOGO 2

RAPE IS RAPE… Warning, this may not be easy for some of you to read…

This is a week over due and it’s simply because I debated if writing what I felt would help the cause or was it just from my anger… Lately I have been inundated with male politicians telling me what defines rape, what I am allowed and not allowed to do with my body and I am tired of keeping quiet.

RAPE IS RAPE, there is no getting around it, there is no such thing as “Legitimate Rape” and rape is NOT just another form of conception. Dictionary.com defines rape as ‘the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.” And Webster’s New World Dictionary defines rape as “The crime of having sexual intercourse with a woman forcibly and without her consent”.

I have very few memories of my childhood, but I remember every single second of my rape. I was 12 years old when it happened, I was locked in a pitch dark basement for what seemed like hours and I have no idea if it was one man or several men, but it went on and on and on. I was terrified, confused and told that my family would be killed if I ever said anything, so I went back to school and for years I pretended nothing happened to me. The scars, while not physical, remain with me today. I began to put on weight almost immediately, with the exception of my high school sweetheart, I haven’t had one healthy relationship with any man, during most of my 20s I was a hardcore drug addict and I slept with anyone who showed me the slightest bit of interest and to this day I am so f*cking scare of the dark I panic to the point of temporary insanity if I don’t have some form of light around me. Yep, I’m going to be 41 years old next week and I still have a night light…

If, from my rape, I was left pregnant, 12 years old and pregnant (Thank God I wasn’t) according to the Republicans of the United States, I am meant to have the child… It’s simply “another method of conception”, and “Just the same as pregnancy out of wedlock”. I am left to give birth, raise a child that was conceived out of violence, rage, sickness? How dare they even suggest that be the only way. It’s my body, my choice.

It’s only the last 3 years I have really allowed myself to talk about what happened to me, to confront those demons, and try to find some peace with the whole damned thing… If I’m ever to truly find happiness in my life I need to… (And the only reason I am speaking so bluntly today is I am sickened by what has been happening in the world and nothing is being done…)

So 30 years later I am still fighting a war I didn’t ask for, and didn’t deserve and then to be told that there is a thing such as “Legitimate Rape” offends me to my deepest core. Women and children are being raped every second of every day in every country and so little is done to protect them. So few resources are available that the majority of cases are unreported, and abusers, RAPISTS, go on to rape again. Their victims are left with a silent shame that will follow them to the end of their days.

I implore you, male and female, regardless of your religion, political party, or any other belief system, understand that rape is rape, no means no, and to stand up for the victims, stop the maniacal politicians from taking away a woman’s basic rights… Stop them from speaking and acting (ignorantly) on issues they can’t even begin to understand…  Rape is rape, I’ll say it again and again, until my dying breath, if that is what it will take for the world to wake up… RAPE IS RAPE…